Justice, Whether a Natural or Artificial Virtue?

Jonathan Harrison

in Hume's Theory of Justice

Published in print January 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680946 | DOI:
Justice, Whether a Natural or Artificial Virtue?

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This chapter discusses the following: (1) Meaning of Hume's view that when we praise actions we regard only the motives that produced them. (2) Difficulties with this view. (3) Hume's view that there is no motive which prompts men to be just, other than the sense of justice, and Hume's argument to the conclusion that justice is not a natural virtue. (4) Hume's view that there is no motive the object of which is the performance of just actions. (5) Hume's arguments to show that private benevolence cannot be the motive which makes justice a duty. (6) Sense in which justice is natural. (7) Difference between man's motivation to be just and his other motives. (8) Natural man as a standard. (9) Natural virtues and the economy of man's species. (10) Whether the sentiments that sanction rules of justice are natural or artificial. (11) Whether a desire to obey artificial rules for their own sake could evolve over a long period of time. (12) Hume and Butler. (13) Could men have a duty to which they were not in any way disposed? (14) Is lack of motive to justice a defect rather than a vice? (15) Hume's view that there is no such passion as love of mankind as such. (16) Rules of justice do have exceptions. (17) Whether parental duty is a natural virtue. (18) Actions that are artificially virtuous, unlike those which are naturally virtuous, are not individually useful. (19) Secret promises still obligatory.

Keywords: actions; motives; justice; natural virtues; private benevolence; parental duty

Chapter.  11947 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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